Top 3 Benefits of Speech & Debate

Family Homeschooling: Large Families, Only Children, & Multiple Ages!

The Most Beneficial Extracurricular Activity Is Right Under Your Nose

By Elizabeth Green, founder of Green Communication

Art, music, sports, scouts… many of us have our pick of the extracurricular activities available to our children. We enroll our kids because we know the benefits are worth the financial and time investments. But there is one opportunity that is often overlooked, yet could be the biggest investment in your child’s intellectual, social, and emotional growth.

Speech and Debate

Participation in a speech and debate program is said to be the second highest-valued asset on a college resume, coming in behind Eagle Scout. 

So if colleges put this much value on this kind of program, why isn’t it more popular? Why doesn’t every high school in America have a program? 

There are lots of theories, but one core issue is funding. People pay to watch a band performance or a basketball game. People don’t tend to pay to attend debate tournaments. Therefore, it’s not widely available. That is, it wasn’t until 2020. 

One of the beautiful things that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic was the explosion of virtual education opportunities.

We are no longer bound to what is available in the local school district, or within driving distance. Every potential subject or skill is now available to your child, including speech and debate. 

Top 3 Benefits of Speech & Debate

Speech and Debate is one of the few extracurriculars that teach skills that will last a lifetime and be relevant in most aspects of your child’s adult life. These are just a few of those skills: 

Communication Skills

Regardless of how fast our world changes, effective communication will always be a linchpin for success. Speech and debate programs cultivate this skill, guiding participants in crafting compelling arguments and delivering them with clarity.

This skill will empower your child to express themselves confidently in diverse personal and professional settings. 

Critical Thinking and Research Skills

Speech and debate nurture the art of critical thinking. Participants are challenged to question what is presented to them, analyze complex issues, consider multiple perspectives, and construct well-reasoned arguments without letting emotions take control.

The research component also introduces children to the art of gathering information from credible sources, honing their ability to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information—a vital skill in our information-driven society.


Participation in speech and debate instills a remarkable boost in confidence. Public speaking is listed as the #1 fear in most Americans. The older we get, the harder it is to conquer that fear.

Speech and debate programs encourage children to face it head-on in a supportive environment. Building confidence in public speaking at a young age is a major advantage, and can even expand future career opportunities. 

Implementing Speech and Debate at Home

Whether you just want to dip your toes into debate at home or provide extra practice opportunities for your competitor, here are a few ways to encourage speech and debate at home:

Impromptu Speaking

Ask a “would you rather” question, and encourage your child to spend two minutes explaining their answer in full sentences. You can have them start talking right after you present the question, or give them a few minutes to gather their thoughts.

Challenge them more by having them explain why they didn’t choose the other option. Bonus points: have them stand up in front of you and the rest of the family to deliver their response.

Be sure to give them your full attention and applaud when they are finished.   (Grab 52 ‘Would You Rather’ Questions here.)

Create a Mini-Debate

Respond to their reasoning with questions or provide rebuttals to what they said. For example, if the question was “Would you rather have a cat or a dog?” and they say they would choose a cat because you have to walk dogs, you could point out that walking dogs is a health benefit for the owner.

Then encourage them to respond to that. IE: Not everyone has a safe area to walk outside, or it could be a challenge for someone in a wheelchair. Go back and forth as much as you can. (Grab an outline for a mini-debate here.)

Encourage Research and Source Credibility

If your child is telling you something that you know is not correct, don’t just correct them. Ask them where they got that information. Then discuss if it’s a credible resource.

If they say they learned it from Youtube, ask them if they would go to a doctor who learned how to do surgery from Youtube. Don’t just tell them it’s not necessarily a credible source, ask questions that will help them look more critically at the source.

Or, if they don’t know where they heard it, ask them to find a credible source to back up their information. Not only are they learning how to find credible information, but also how to persuade a doubting audience. 

While speech and debate programs may not be as well-known as traditional sports or music lessons, their impact on a child's development is profound. From honing communication skills, and fostering critical thinking to building confidence, the benefits will extend a lifetime. is launching a speech and debate program for homeschoolers in the Spring. Get alerted to more info here.

Other Resources we love:
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Elizabeth Green is the founder of Green Communications and Elizabeth and her team of world champion debaters have taught 10,000 kids since 2020 with the mission of building confidence in the future, one young voice at a time. 

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